“I don’t really rock [Supreme] too much… It got outta hand.”
I remember the first moment I knew I needed Supreme; I was 16 years old and I had just finished the first part of “Sold Out: The Underground Economy of Supreme Resellers,” and I was in shock at the simplicity and overall hype of Mr. James Jebbia’s brand. I started scouring eBay for different pieces just to see what exactly Supreme had released over the years. I started looking at old lookbooks that are archived on the brand’s website. I did this all in preparation for the first drop that was only three months away. I remember the documentary got me so excited to the point where I was doing outside research to figure out the best way to try and beat the “auto-cop” programs that bought items within seconds. From that moment forward, an obsession with one of the most lucrative brands of all time was formed.
However, as soon as I started paying attention to the design and detail of the lines that were coming out, I wasn’t able to see how basic and unoriginal the recent pieces had become. After the F/W17 collection, I started asking myself whether I was buying the brand for the name on the tag or if I was really interested in the designs? For awhile, I was wondering why I felt like I already owned t-shirts that I would’ve otherwise purchased immediately. I lost all motivation to even search for Supreme on Grailed. There were two things I noticed about the brand that were the main reasons Supreme fell out of my good graces: the hype extended far more than Reddit groups and Facebook groups, and the designs got lazy.
The first time I noticed Supreme went mainstream was when I was walking around the U of A campus after my freshman orientation and I noticed a middle-school aged kid walking around wearing the Supreme x Joe Roberts Swirl Tee. Granted, the shirt was bright red, a color that I would usually be very reluctant to wear; however, I noted that I still owned that same shirt. That was the moment I realized I couldn’t be wearing shirts that middle school students were wearing. I didn’t want to pegged as man child! (I still own the Joe Roberts tee just because I did beat a crashed website and tons of bots online to get it). From that point on, I started seeing middle school students wearing the newest drops, ultimately leaving me with the impression that I was wearing a children’s brand. After that realization, I started noticing that some of the designs were essentially just people reworking a few old images and adding the classic “World Famous Supreme” across the shirt.
At this point, other brands like Palace and high-end menswear designers like Raf Simons, Alyx Studios, and Gosha Rubchinskiy started to grab my attention. Although still a skate-brand, Palace had designs that Supreme used to release: original art mixed with social commentary that is relevant and satirical. So much attention was put into every idea and detail from the theme and hidden message of the idea to how the Baby Milo zipper on a Bape full zip hoodie. Nigo is another designer who I fell in love with. He put so much attention into his brand, the name A Bathing Ape refers to the ability for one in Japan to take a bath for such a longtime, the water goes from hot to lukewarm. Essentially, the kids who buy Bape are so well-off and opulent, they can figuratively relax in their bath until the water changes from hot to lukewarm. I just didn’t feel that kind of attention in Supreme’s designs.
Although recently, pieces that are from S/S15 and before represent the heyday of Supreme; a time when hypebeasts weren’t 14-year-old kids who used their parents money to screw up the retail market and try their hand at reselling. A simpler time when Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky were the reasons I fell in love with the brand. But now, I’ll just stick to buying archived Supreme pieces that take a little research for you to know what it is.
Written By: Jake Romo
Edited By: Kami Strander